A small thing like a little swelling or a localized wound can turn into a major medical complication if left unattended. A Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report goes as far as stating that nearly one in every five Americans regularly suffers from pain and inflammation. For such people, over-the-counter NSAIDs are the way out.
While reducing inflammation may not address the underlying problem, it is usually the first line of treatment – one that has often saved a person’s life! In fact, inflammation can cause more damage to the human body during a disease than the disease itself.
Ironically, inflammation is only the body’s natural response to an attack by a foreign object, including microbes. It indicates an infection or injury, informing the brain of the body’s diseased state. Despite being the body’s defense mechanism, the body’s immune responses make the body pay (tissue damage) for it to raise an alarm!
When the alarm bells go off (signaling), the cells produce high levels of reactive oxygen species, called free radicals, thus increasing the oxidative stress on the cells. The oxidative stress (low oxygen levels), which is triggered to spread the word of your injury or disease, damages the proteins and fats, including the DNA of our tissues.
Several inflammatory conditions are the result of some chronic and acute medical conditions. Chronic conditions that may cause inflammation include osteoporosis, Type II diabetes, irritable bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, as well as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Acute conditions may involve a bone fracture, heart blockages, and heart attacks, as well as lesions or wounds.
Incidentally, there are quite a few pieces of evidence that prove Cannabidiol as a simpler, safer, and yet an effective substance that can naturally modulate and regulate your body’s homeostasis, without causing the usual side effects of pharmaceutical medications.
Even though pregnant women and nursing mothers are asked to stay away from CBD, the FDA has approved its use for children as young as 1 year (Epidiolex®). However, it has not given any approval to the use of any other CBD product as a drug or as part of any food item. Besides, one must be careful before using CBD with other medications as CBD is generally known to interact with some medicines.
But before you reach for your laptop to order your first bottle of CBD oil, get your facts straight.
Does CBD Really Reduce Inflammations?
This non-psychoactive cannabis component has been known to man as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent for quite some time. These are possibly the main reasons why so many people use CBD oils across the world.
So before you buy your first CBD oil, find out the 5 most important things about CBD for inflammation…
CBD Reinstates Body’s Equilibrium Lost By Pathogen Attack
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) of the body is a key player in preventing inflammation. Primarily two receptors take part in this process – CB1 and CB2Rs. While CB1 receptors are predominantly found in the brain and adipose tissues, CB2 receptors are mostly found in peripheral parts of our body, including our skin and immune system.
Our body’s ECS interacts with some internal cannabinoids (endogenous cannabinoids) to keep the physiological and chemical balance within the body. When this stable state is disrupted or disturbed in any way, exogenous cannabinoids derived from hemp and marijuana (around 60 phytocannabinoids exist as per our knowledge) can also provide support to the ECS, prevent and inhibiting inflammations, even while protecting the body from further external attacks.
CBD is a known non-psychotropic compound that has been proven to have several therapeutic properties. So much so, CBD has been found to induce anti-inflammatory effects at par with many over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, like Advil and Motrin, without any of the side effects associated with such pharmaceutical drugs. It particularly works best as an anti-inflammatory agent against inflammatory diseases, such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn’s disease, and Ulcerative Colitis, etc.
- In a 2016 study, published in the Frontiers of Pharmacology, endogenous and exogenous cannabinoids were found to have “therapeutic potential” due to the “inhibitory effects” on immune cells, maintaining the overall health of the lungs. It even helped clear the germs from the lungs.
The study proved that CBD can be successfully utilized in preventing chronic inflammatory lung conditions and helping in the treatment.
CBD Works In Mysterious Ways!
CBD directly suppresses immune cells from going into overdrive and promotes the growth of cells that can compensate for the damage caused by infection, thereby fighting against both inflammation and the pathogen.
- In a 2020 study, published in the Antioxidants, researchers showed pointed out how CBD impacts the ECS to reduce inflammation and restore the balance. According to this review, besides its indirect interaction with CB1 and CB2, CBD directly interacts with other atypical receptors that include vanilloid (TRPV), PPARy (peroxisome-proliferator activated), other G-protein coupled (GPR), and 5-HT (serotonin) receptors.
CBD’s Multi-Directional Pathways
CBD does not directly impact our nerves. It does most of it by boosting the functions of our internal cannabinoid anandamide (also a neurotransmitter). Anandamide influences ECS receptors directly, which in turn works by modulating another signaling system, the ROS or reactive oxygen species, thus controlling the way our body reacts to pathogens. This proves CBD’s strong antioxidant properties as well.
Through this study, we understand that CBD, among other phytocannabinoids, can coordinate with the ECS to modulate oxidative stress caused by diseases, thus acting as an immunomodulator.
CBD Controls The Healing Mechanism Too!
Unlike most other anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs and other anti-inflammatory medications), CBD is noted to influence the body’s healing mechanism. CBD’s wound-healing abilities that are usually inhibited by the use of medications, such as NSAIDs and steroids, have been highlighted in several studies.
- In a 2010 paper, published in the Diabetic Research and Clinical Practice, accelerated wound-healing was observed in a diabetic rat model.
- In a 2018 study, published in the Pediatric Dermatology Journal, 3 patients had successfully self-medicated themselves with topical CBD to treat epidermolysis bullosa, a skin condition. Not only did they find the healing process to be faster, but they also were able to free themselves of their dependence on oral opioid analgesics.
CBD Has Better Safety Profile Than Traditional Medications
- In 2019, the Epilepsy Research published a clinical trial that proved CBD’s efficacy as well as its better tolerance by young patients of two rare forms of epilepsy – Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) and Dravet Syndrome (DS).
Even though that may not be enough for you to be convinced of its efficacy, you may want to try something simple and less impactful, like a topical cream or balm to ease your symptoms.
It’s no wonder that CBD has become so popular among people suffering from inflammatory diseases. Public forums are filled with anecdotal evidence.
Is CBD a Miracle Drug for Inflammation?
- CBD IS NOT A MIRACLE DRUG! Any brand or company that makes such tall claims are simply trying to dupe you!
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s summarize how effective CBD can be in helping manage inflammatory diseases.
Yes, CBD can indeed help manage the immune system’s inflammatory responses. Cannabis has, for generations, been known to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
But everything comes at a cost.
So be careful when you decide to use cannabidiol. Even though it is non-psychotropic, non-addictive, and comparatively non-toxic, it still has a few side effects that may get aggravated if you mistakenly overdosed on it. Although overdosing on CBD won’t be lethal, it can cause some unnecessary side effects, like dizziness, drowsiness, and lethargy, besides dry mouth.
Even though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of Epidiolex® for the treatment of a few critical medical conditions, it has still warned against its commercial sale and use.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), CBD is usually a safe drug without any abuse or dependence potential, and there is “no evidence of public health-related problems associated with pure CBD”.
Besides, the Drug Control Administration (DCA), in September 2018, removed CBD from the List I classification (dangerous drugs with no medicinal value) and placed it under List V (least dangerous under controlled substances act).
Apart from these, thousands of users have reportedly confirmed CBD’s efficacy and safety for use by people with acute and chronic inflammatory medical conditions. Whether it is rheumatoid arthritis or irritable bowel syndrome, most people testified to CBD’s effectiveness – that is, of course, as long as they were not inherently allergic to all exogenous cannabinoids or mixed CBD with pharmaceutical drugs that require the same kind of liver enzymes (CYP450) to metabolize as the cannabinoid.